Abstract -WOCMES 1989
The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the ways in which the Imam's sayings in, principally, the Nahj al-balagha and the Ghurar al-Hikam, can be seen as elucidating the notion, the principle and the practice of the dhikruֺllah, the ‘remembrance/invocation of God’, a notion which figures prominently both in the Qur’an and in the sunna of the Prophet. It can be argued that these sayings of the Imam constitute a valuable commentary on those verses of the Qur’an referring to the dhikr; and, given the centrality of the dhikr within Sufi practice and doctrine, these sayings also help one to appreciate why it is that the Sufis refer to the Imam as the first great Pole (qutb) of Sufism, after the Prophet himself. The Imam’s perspective on the dhikr contains the seeds of the elaborate doctrines pertaining to this principle in what was later to develop in the Sufi tradition. His perspective also helps one to appreciate the multiple levels upon which the principle of remembrance operates: moral, intellectual and spiritual.
Founding editor of the Islamic World Report, Reza Shah-Kazemi studied International Relations and Politics at Sussex and Exeter Universities before obtaining his PhD in Comparative Religion from the University of Kent in 1994.